Bruce Bayard's split personality

What do luminous art crayon drawings of the sky and clouds have to do with frenetic video montages that cycle by at up to 10 images per second?

They're all done by Ashland artist Bruce Bayard.

Bayard is best known for his fine art made with computer software such as Adobe Photoshop. But before he went the all-computer route more than a decade ago, he handcrafted art that included beautiful little images of clouds and the sky.

In July, Bayard decided to revive the popular sky and cloud drawings by creating one every day of that month using water soluble art crayons.

The result is 31 drawings that glow with color and light, each one unique.

The drawing from July 31 is almost all blue, with only a few puffs of white and gray clouds near the bottom. Towering clouds that threaten rain make up most of the drawing from July 15, while the slanting rays of the sun cast peach to sienna hues on cloud puffs sketched on July 14.

While the small drawings have all the freshness of impressionistic paintings done outdoors, Bayard said he made them indoors, sometimes late at night.

"The whole first half of July was blue sky, so that would have been pretty boring. Ninety-nine percent of it was making up whatever I felt like doing," he said. "I have a good memory for clouds and how they behave. I love clouds."

Bayard sometimes layered color upon color to make the pieces, while for others, he scraped away pigment to reveal colors underneath. The drawings work as both realist images of clouds and sky, and as abstract compositions.

Bayard said creating one every day during July was sometimes a challenge.

"Setting a goal to do one piece every day is good for artists, but sometimes you just don't feel like it," he said. "There were times that I was thinking begrudgingly that I needed to do one. Other times, it was like any other artwork. You get into another head space where you don't worry about the banal worries of daily life."

Although he often enjoyed making the pieces, Bayard said his temporary return to the sky and cloud drawings reaffirmed his conviction that digital work interests him most.

Clouds do make frequent appearances in his digital images, however, and he applied the same discipline in making the art crayon drawings that he brings to his computer-made art.

Bayard recently completed a more than four-year effort to create 1,000 digital images. After hitting the 500-image mark, he realized the images were part of a time-based work. His next step was putting the images together to form three videos, including one set to music of his own composition and one set to discordant instrumental music by the hard rock band Nine Inch Nails.

Clouds, jet fighter planes, grain silos, eye charts, birds, flowers, canyons, ocean views, violins and other multi-layered, painterly images flash by, sometimes as fast as 10 per second.

"It's fun to explore the whole range of things," Bayard said. "It would get boring fast if I did the same thing over and over again. It's the most fun when you are discovering things that are new to you."

To view Bayard's cloud and sky drawings, digital images or digital montage videos, visit

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or by email at

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